Lisnagarvey High School

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Special Educational  Needs - Overview

Under the direction of the Special Needs Co-ordinator all teachers have a responsibility for the teaching of pupils with special educational needs.



Mrs J Harrison   – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator

Mrs C Campbell – Literacy / Numeracy/ Curriculum Support

Mrs K Bell         - Medical Co-ordinator

9Classroom Assistants

Special Needs - A Definition

The term “special educational needs” or “SEN” is defined in the relevant legislation as “a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made.” “Learning difficulty” means that a child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of comparable age, or has a disability which hinders his or her use of the kind of facilities generally provided in ordinary schools. “Special educational provision” means educational provision which is different from or additional to, provision made generally for children of comparable age.


We recognise that the definition of SEN embraces a breadth of learning difficulties varying in type, duration and severity. We recognise that special educational needs can arise as a result of:

specific learning difficulties

learning difficulties

emotional and behavioural problems 

physical disabilities

sensory impairment: hearing/visual difficulties

medical conditions

speech and language difficulties

prolonged absence from school/erratic absence

adverse social or cultural circumstances


Arising from the school aims the following are relevant to children with special educational needs:

 To ensure that all pupils with SEN are identified and assessed as early as possible and as quickly as is consistent with thoroughness

To allow all pupils with SEN to have access to the Northern Ireland Curriculum at a level appropriate to their age, aptitude, ability and attainment

To develop a good self-concept in all children with special needs, enhancing self confidence, self-esteem and self image

To maintain an effective system of assessment, record-keeping and evaluation

To promote effective communications between principal, teachers, governors, parents and external agencies

To encourage parents and persons with parental responsibility to recognise the central role they play in the education of their children and to foster a proper partnership between parents and school

Structure of SEN

Special Educational Needs adopts a staged approach as consistent with the Code of Practice


The Five Stage Model


Stage 1       Teachers identify and register a child’s SEN and, consulting the school’s SENCO, take initial action.


Stage 2       The SENCO takes lead responsibility for collecting and recording information and for co-ordinating the child’s special educational provision, working with the child’s teachers.


Stage 3       Teachers and the SENCO are supported by specialists from outside the school.


Stage 4       The Board considers the need for a statutory assessment and, if appropriate, makes a multi-disciplinary assessment.


Stage 5       The Board considers the need for a statement of SEN; if appropriate, it makes a statement and arranges, monitors and reviews provision.



Statements of special educational need are reviewed annually in consultation with parents, the Board and other agencies.